User experience (or UX for short) is a term used to describe the experience a user has with a product. Generally, the user experience describes how a user finds and assesses the quality of a product. User experience today plays a major role in web development. This means that websites or apps are setup for as good a user experience as possible even before their publication. A large part of the design of web content therefore has the so-called “UX design”, “experience design” or “user-centered design”, which puts the user in focus and touches upon a holistic design approach. Components of the user experience include usability as well as accessibility.
User experience plays a central role in these areas
The user experience plays a big role in the success or failure of a product. It generally always plays a role when products are designed and conceived. This could be household objects, cars or a website.
User expectations play a major role in the quality of the user experience and to what extent these requirements are fulfilled by the product. This context also covers user-centered design. Alongside aesthetic criteria it is also important to put the user at the center of the product development.
This characterizes a good user experience
Good UX design fulfills both the aesthetic and practical expectations that a user has of a product. The product thereby meets a need that the user has. A good user experience can, of course, be realized in a different way depending on the product.
For websites, for example, it is often the case that they should be easily accessible and make the individual elements of navigation as well as the finding of relevant content easier.
Furthermore, the content should be easy to grasp with sensibly chosen contrasts, an easily readable font and a clear text structure. In a further sense accessibility is also part of a website with a successful UX design. In its simplest form a website designed with user friendliness ensures that a user quickly finds precisely what they were looking for. In this case, it does not matter whether the user is looking for products or information in terms of positive user experience. If they are looking for products, then naturally the entire shopping basket as well as the purchasing process also belongs to the user experience. After all, a high level of user satisfaction ensures higher conversions in e-commerce.
Alongside the design, the performance of the site also plays a major role for user satisfaction. If a website only loads very slowly and if the content only builds up very hesitantly, then the user experience is influenced. The same applies to internet sites that are not optimized for mobile, but are also visited by users with smartphones.
What is the difference between user experience and usability?
The term usability is described in its own ISO standard:
- “Usability is the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.” (DIN ISO 9241-11)
- The user experience, on the other hand, is outlined in the ISO standard with the following words: “A person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system or service. […] This includes all the users’ emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviors and accomplishments that occur before, during and after use.” (DIN ISO 9241-210)
The big difference between usability and user experience, firstly, exists in the time period to which both terms relate. Because usability exclusively comes down to the duration during the use of a product. The user experience, on the other hand, also includes the ideas that a user has about a product. It also checks whether these expectations are fulfilled as part of the use. This makes usability a part of the user experience.
Influence of UX on rankings
A good user experience can have a lasting influence on the ranking of a website in the search results. In this case, user signals such as visit duration, return-to-SERP rate or the CTR of a website are taken into account by search engines such as Google. It is assumed that the algorithms of the search engines count these metrics amongst the ranking factors.
Measuring user experience
The user experience can be determined in different ways. Depending on the method, different tools and techniques are used.
- A/B tests: Various versions can be tested in web design. In this case the version that has the best values in terms of various metrics such as purchases, visit duration or bounce rate is used.
- Heat maps: On websites, heat maps can show how users move around the site and which elements cause the most interaction.
- Google Analytics and other web analysis tools: Classic values such as visit duration or sales can be checked with the help of web tracking software.
- Surveys: It is particularly in product development that user surveys are carried out as part of agile methods. Even individual teams can develop surveys in the development of products as part of rapid prototyping, on the basis of which a product is then further designed. Here concepts such as the joy of use or usability play a central role.
- Usability testing: There is the opportunity to carry out so-called usability tests for websites or other products. These base on questionnaires that the target group have to fill in when using the product.